Russia loses more than 500,000 inhabitants in one year

Moscow International Trade Center, Russia.
Moscow International Trade Center, Russia. Photo: Government of Moscow.

Since the fall of the USSR and the separation of the Soviet republics in 1991, Russia almost systematically loses its inhabitants every year. But 2020 was a record year, with the loss of exactly 510,458 inhabitants on January 1, 2021, according to the latest count from Rosstat, Russia’s federal statistics service. This is the largest drop in 15 years, in 2005.

As in many countries, the COVID-19 pandemic has heavily influenced demographics, with Russia mourning the deaths of around 72,000 people from the virus.

This continuous demographic decline for three decades is linked to the increase in mortality, the decline in fertility, and the massive departures of young people abroad. The annexation of Crimea in 2014, conquered militarily over Ukraine, had temporarily increased the total population of the country by almost 2 million inhabitants. But since that advantage has disappeared, and it seems unlikely that in the near future the trend of decline will be reversed.

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